Received by boisterous applause and cheer, the newest piece of artwork on campus, Secret Totem by artist Carol Brown Goldberg, was warmly celebrated by Montclair State University at the start of the fall 2015 semester. The sculpture which distinguishes the grounds of Dickson Hall, stood gracefully as President Susan Cole, College of the Arts Dean Daniel Gurskis, and numerous members and students of the university honored Ms. Goldberg and her distinctive work and contribution to Montclair State.
The unveiling of the vibrant, fire-engine red figure which was installed on campus in August, has now firmly established its home at Montclair State. It also became a significant time to “celebrate the transformative and enriching power of art,” as stated by President Cole.
“This is an important gift by Ms. Goldberg, one which is at the heart of our mission, and our mission is to provide all our students who study in a vast array of disciplines, the opportunity to engage with serious art. We acknowledge and honor the freedom of artistic expression on our campus, where students have the chance to understand more closely the work and potential of the human spirit. We encourage them to realize the potential to be creative within their own lives,” said President Cole.
Dean Gurskis also praised the artwork’s undeniable presence on campus. “The sculpture is a tremendous addition to our collection. It connects with the two pillars on which the University and College of the Arts is built, which is access and excellence. Everywhere on campus, we are in a position to educate our students and expose them to dynamic work, and give them a creative environment in which to learn and study,” explained Dean Gurskis.
During Ms. Goldberg’s initial visit to campus several years ago, she was moved by the human figures of Street Crossing, sculptures which welcome the community and students to campus by the noted American sculptor George Segal, for whom the university gallery is named. Ms. Goldberg had been inspired to create her striking figure with the work of Segal in mind.
The artist, whose family and associates were also present to honor her work, was also graciously enthusiastic about the project which was three-years in the making. “I feel so honored and privileged to be able to create this work, and have it live on the Montclair State campus. While in the process of creating it, I realized I was creating an anthropomorphic being, a figure made of various disparate parts, and runs in step with the diverse and multicultural campus. Montclair State is a place that accepts and integrates arts into its community, and I was very excited to work on this project,” said Ms. Goldberg.
The project was a collaboration between the George Segal Gallery, the College of the Arts, the Office of the President, and the Montclair State University Foundation.
The crowd of spectators who flocked around the sculpture were witness to the momentous unveiling, along with the passing students on their way to classes. “We are thrilled to unveil it, to exhibit, and give it to the tens of thousands students here now, and for all those students to come. It is theirs to enjoy,” said President Cole.
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